“One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: ‘Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus replied, ‘What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?’ The man answered, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘Right!’ Jesus told him. ‘Do this and you will live!’” – Luke 10:25-27 Matthew 22:36-40 Mark 12:28-31
Personal Wholehearted Devotion to God: God, I give my life to you. God, I will live for you. God, all that I am and all that I have is yours.
Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Did you know that Jesus quotes Deuteronomy more than any other book of Scripture? Let’s look at Deuteronomy 6:5.
Deuteronomy context: it is written by Moses in 1400 BC, covering two months. Preparing the people to enter the Promised Land, Moses is reviewing their past with an eye on their future. He is telling them, “God made a promise.”
– Reminding the people to be faithful to the covenant God made with them.
– Love is the right motive for following God’s guidance.
– God calls us to hear and obey his guidance.
– Those who obey are blessed. Those who disobey will suffer the consequences.
Predicting a time when they would worship other things:
“There you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. In the distant future, when you are suffering all these things, you will finally return to the Lord your God and listen to what he tells you. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” – Deuteronomy 4:29-31
The followers of Jesus responded to his teaching in this way:
“But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. People of Israel, listen! God
publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs
through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged
plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed
him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised
him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.” – Acts 2:21-24
“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today.” – Acts 2:32-33
“Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” – Acts 2:37-39
“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:42-47
Devoted: Authentic, committed, candid, complete, dedicated, determined, devoted, earnest, fervent, genuine, never-failing, passionate, real, unwavering, warm
“They devoted themselves,” – Acts 2:42
As Jesus followers, let’s come to understand what God is asking us for, and let us respond with wholehearted devotion.
What do we learn?
- God has shown us matchless love.
- We should love God with all our hearts.
How do we respond?
- Ask God for help.
“God, help me. Please heal my heart so that I can worship you.”
- Receive the love of God, repenting as needed.
“Create in me a clean heart,” – Psalm 51
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” – Psalm 139:23-24
“That is why the Lord says, ‘Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.’ Return to the Lord your God for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.” Joel 2:12-13
- Remove any obstacle to our wholehearted love for God.
- Love God with all our hearts.
“If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children. I am giving you these instructions so you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you for all time.” – Deuteronomy 4:40
“Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever.” – Deuteronomy 5:29
“Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.” – Deuteronomy 5:33
“And the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear him so he can continue to bless us and preserve our lives, as he has done to this day. For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the Lord our God has given us.” – Deuteronomy 6:24-25
Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who reject him. Therefore, you must obey all these commands, decrees, and regulations I am giving you today.” – Deuteronomy 7:9-11